Square Enix Europe
|Square Enix Europe|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||29 March 1984Putney, London, Englandin|
|Headquarters||Southwark, London, England|
Square Enix Limited (formerly Domark Limited and Eidos Interactive Limited), doing business as Square Enix Europe, is a British video game publisher, acting as the European subsidiary of Square Enix. The company was founded as Domark in 1984, named after the founders Mark Strachan and Dominic Wheatley. In 1996, the company was acquired and merged with two other studios, and was then renamed Eidos Interactive. The company went on to be acquired by SCi in 2005, and Square Enix in 2009. On 9 November 2009, Square Enix completed the merger of its existing European branch into Eidos Interactive, renaming the resulting company Square Enix Europe.
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Foundation as Domark (1984–1996)
On 29 March 1984, Mark Douglas Ashley Strachan and Dominic Marius Dennis Anthony Wheatley of London incorporated video game publisher Antrocrown, which would be renamed Domark on 11 May that year. Their first title was 1984's Eureka!, written by Ian Livingstone. Livingstone would go on to become deputy chairman of the company a few years later, and would stay in various roles at the company, until his departure from the company in 2013. Located within London's Putney district, the company held its own development team, The Kremlin, in the publisher's headquarters basement. Domark was primarily remembered as the publisher for Championship Manager and Hard Drivin'.
Transformation into Eidos Interactive (1996–2005)
On 25 September 1996, publicly-traded Eidos Public Limited Company acquired Domark, alongside Simis and Big Red Software, for a total of GB£12.9 million. On 31 May 1996, Simis and Big Red Software were merged into Domark to create Eidos Interactive. Eidos Interactive acquired CentreGold in April 1996 for GB£17.6 million. CentreGold consisted of distributor CentreSoft and publisher U.S. Gold, which also included developers Core Design and Silicon Dreams Studio, though the latter would be re-acquired by its founder, Geoff Brown, through his newly-founded Geoff Brown Holdings, on 16 December that year. The Eidos Interactive acquisition was months prior to the release of Tomb Raider by Core Design, which CentreGold had acquired two years prior.
Acquisition by SCi (2005–2009)
In March 2005, Eidos admitted that cash reserves had dwindled to GB£11.9 million during the second half of 2004, and pre-tax losses had grown to GB£29 million.
On 21 March 2005, Eidos Interactive received a takeover bid from Elevation Partners, the private equity firm owned by former Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and with a number of notable partners, including U2's lead singer Bono. This takeover valued the company at GB£71 million, and would inject GB£23 million in order to keep the company from bankruptcy in the short term.
The day after, Eidos Interactive received a second takeover bid from the British games manufacturer SCi. The company offered GB£74 million, and tabled a restructuring plan to cut GB£14 million from annual costs. To fund this takeover, SCi proposed to sell GB£60 million worth of stock. Eventually, in late April, Elevation Partners formally withdrew its offer, leaving the way clear for SCi. The takeover was finalized on 16 May 2005, with SCi merging itself into Eidos Interactive's parent, renaming it SCi Entertainment Group Limited.
Since the SCi purchase, the vast majority of the old Eidos Interactive management were let go. SCi left their Battersea Office and moved into the old Eidos Interactive office on the second floor of Wimbledon Bridge House, 1 Hartfield Road, Wimbledon. Eidos Interactive announced on 15 February 2007 that they would open a new studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada responsible for "new undisclosed next-generation projects". Eidos Montréal started developing a new game in the Deus Ex franchise.
In February 2007, Eidos Interactive acquired Rockpool Games, along with its two sister companies Ironstone Partners and SoGoPlay, and proceeded to close Rockpool Games in 2009.
On 4 September 2007, the board of SCi Entertainment confirmed recent speculation that the company has been approached with a view to making an offer. On 10 January 2008, SCi announced take over and/or merger talks had been halted. As a result, the share price dropped by over 50%. Major investors called for the resignation of key personnel, including chief executive officer (CEO) Jane Cavanagh, over this issue as well as delays to key titles. On 18 January 2008, Jane Cavanagh, Bill Ennis and Rob Murphy left the company.
When SCi revealed their 2008 financial report, losses were at GB£100 million, but new CEO Phil Rogers claimed this was only due to the reconstructing plans. On 19 September 2008, Eidos Interactive opened a Shanghai-based studio, Eidos Shanghai, consisting of a small team to build up relations in Asia.
In January 2009, Eidos closed their Manchester studio.
Takeover by Square Enix (2009–present)
In February 2009, Square Enix reached an agreement to purchase Eidos Interactive for GB£84.3 million, pending shareholder approval, with an initial aim of fully buying Eidos Interactive on 6 May 2009. The date was brought forward and Square Enix officially took over Eidos Interactive on 22 April 2009.
Although Square Enix stated that it would let Eidos Interactive remain as it is currently and not meddle in its internal affairs, they announced in July 2009, that they would merge Eidos Interactive and their previous European offices into a new entity, tentatively named Square Enix Europe. The merger was completed on 9 November 2009, with the tentative Square Enix Europe name kept for the resulting company.
- Beautiful Game Studios in London, England; opened in 2003.
- Crystal Dynamics in Redwood City, California, U.S.; founded in 1992, acquired in 1998.
- Eidos Montréal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; opened in 2007.
- Eidos Shanghai in Shanghai, China; opened in 2008.
- Square Enix London Studios in London, England; opened in 2009.
- Square Enix Montreal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; founded in 2012.
- Rocksteady Studios in London, England; founded in 2004, 25.1% owned by Square Enix Europe since 2004.
- Core Design in Derby, England; founded in 1988, acquired in 1996, sold to Rebellion Developments in 2006.
- Eidos Hungary in Budapest, Hungary; founded in 2002, acquired and renamed in 2006, closed in 2009.
- IO Interactive in Copenhagen, Denmark; founded in 1998, acquired in 2004, sold to its management in 2017.
- Ion Storm in Dallas, Texas, U.S.; founded in 1996, acquired in 1999, closed in 2005.
- Pivotal Games in Bath, England; founded in 2000, acquired in 2003, closed in 2008.
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